Music Memories #1 – Bruce Springsteen Live 75-85
As Christmas approached in the winter of ’86- ’87 I knew shit at home was going to be bad. When I left to go on Katimavik (a youth volunteer program that kept me away from home for 9 months) my parents were separated. When I arrived home they were together again, and my father had fallen into the same old habits that caused my mother and I to leave in the first place. In fact my father wasn’t really talking to me much. We had a rather large disagreement about responsibility in which I pointed out he was a hypocrite and he pointed out that he could “throw me out of the house threw the fucking key hole.” Needless to say, I had enough sense to realize things would be tense as my father got into his 24 Export Christmas present after dinner.
Of course, everything wasn’t all that bad. A friend had given me keys to his apartment so that I could hang out at his place and listen to tunes as he spent the day with his own family. I in return had taken some of the cash I had left from lifeguarding the previous summer and bought him the gift of music. It was a vinyl copy of Springsteen’s Live ’75 –’85.
It might seem tacky, but as a guy, and knowing enough that my friend would see it this as a cool gift opened or opened, I removed the shrink wrap and made myself a cassette copy of the whole thing as I sat alone and just let the music hit me.
All these stories just started walloping me all at once. Two and a quarter hours Bruce explained the universe to me. I had come back from Katimavik with a renewed sense of confidence, but had done nothing since to foster that side of me. So as Mr. Springsteen sang, I began to imagine what I wanted to do with the next few months.
“Thunder Road” has me thinking about how to get out of the house, and perhaps out of town.
“Growin’ Up” gets me wanting to face a couple of life’s failures and making up for it.
By “Cadillac Ranch” it occurs to me that perhaps adding some fun into the mix would be good.
Each song took on new meaning and laid itself as some kind of plan, and soon this screwed up Christmas started feeling like an epiphany.
The first twenty years of my life shouldn’t be used as an excuse to fuck up the rest of my life. From this point on, my successes and failures had to be my own, and exist separately from where and how I was raised at home.
When the music finished, I took my cassettes out of the tape deck, left a Christmas card on top of the cover of the record and made my way home. Bruce was now singing through the headphones of my Walkman and continued to do so most of that winter. The plans he inspired saw me through the next few years as I moved out, upgraded my high school marks and went to University.